"Incredible, Indubitable, Interminable Items To Startle Your Senses And Soothe Your Soul!" This is a news and information page created by Michael Singer. I've always been a fan of Stan Lee and his gang.
Consider this your friendly neighborhood place on the Web. 'Nuff said!"
Wanna watch a movie tonight? It's a classic story about
bitter rivals fighting for survival with millions of dollars and the whole
world at stake. Sound familiar? It's the story of Blu-ray digital technology.
Blu-ray is a high-definition video format that uses
blue-colored optical laser technology to store six times the amount of
information of a double-sided DVD. That's like having an entire season of the
Sopranos on one disk. The disks are scratch resistant and have copyright
protections built in. As of July 2,
2008 more than 650 Blu-ray
Disc films have been commercially released in the United States and more
than 410 Blu-ray Disc titles have been released in Japan.
The Entertainment Merchants Association, a non-profit trade
group, recently predicted Blu-ray disc sales will reach $9.5 billion in 2012,
surpassing sales of regular DVDs for the first time. The growth will be fueled
by new releases and video games, the group said.
"Blu-ray has a long road ahead before it replaces the
regular DVD. However, keep in mind that the studios are in control here -- they
can determine which films are released on which formats," said Phillip
Swann, an industry analyst who runs the TVPredictions.com Web site.
"Eventually, they will start releasing movies on Blu-ray only, which will
encourage sales of new Blu-ray players."
So why all of the hoopla? Primarily because Blu-ray requires
a Blu-ray player to play Blu-ray discs. That's a cost of around $350 for a
pretty good player. Three of the highest rated Blu-ray players: Sony BDP-S300,
Philips' BDP9000, and Panasonic's DMP-BD10 are all available for purchase at
places like Amazon.com and Wal-Mart online. The Sony PlayStation video game
console also plays Blu-ray disks. It's rumored that Microsoft is developing its
own Blu-ray player for the Xbox 360. Swann predicts Blu-ray players will sell
for less than $200 the closer we get to Christmas, so it may be a good to wait
for a bit before diving in.
The good news is that the standard-definition DVDs you now
own will play on a Blu-ray player. Movies in Blu-ray look their best at 1080p
digital resolution, although I'm told that 720p or 1080i settings are just
fine. And the larger-screen (46 inches and above) the better the Blu-ray
technology will shine.
The path to greatness for Blu-ray format was hard fought
against rival technology HD DVD. Several comparisons to the VHS and Betamax
format wars were made. This time however Sony has come out victorious.
"I wouldn't say that HD DVD's technology was superior,
but I would say that the individual merits of each player was not a major
factor in who won the war," Swann said. "Blu won because the studios,
including Blu's chief backer, Sony, decided to line up behind it. Without
studio support, HD DVD was a long shot from the get-go."
Computers and gadgets are truly the marvel of modern times. That is until they are old and outdated. Then they're like huge lifeless bricks you feel the need to get rid of... in an eco-safe way of course.
It's called electronic waste -- or e-waste for short -- and it's taking up mountains of space in landfills across the nation. Every year, Americans toss out somewhere between 300 million and 400 million electronic items, according to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycling activist group, TakeBack Coalition.
Fortunately, so-called e-cycling is gaining in popularity as communities are trying to reduce the amount of land fill as well as toxic chemicals in the environment. There are more than 80 registered companies in Alameda County that specialize in handling electronic waste, not to mention the multiple drop-off events at local churches and schools every weekend.
To give it local context, the Castro Valley Sanitary District collected 65,543 pounds of unwanted electronics during its 2006 free E-Waste Collection Day at Canyon Middle School this year. The computers and other devices are dismantled and separated into recyclable commodities at a California Integrated Waste Management Board-certified recycling facility in San Leandro.
So what can you e-cycle? Televisions and monitors (including LCD & plasma), PCs, cell phones (including batteries and accessories), printers, PDAs, DVD players, DVDs, VCRs, copy machines, fax machines, calculators, keyboards, stereo systems, projectors, digital cameras, power supplies, hard drives, and even tape recorders.
But "out of sight" may not always be the best for the planet, according to the National Center For Electronics Recycling. The group advocates reuse of working, newer equipment as the first option for used electronic equipment. The West Virginia-based group even recommends donating old technology to various charities. The Support Network For Battered Women and Recycle For Breast Cancer both accept cell phones as donations, for example.
The group also suggests protecting your old data so it doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
"If you are reusing or recycling a laptop or desktop computer, your personal data could still be on your hard drive," the NCER notes on its Web site. "Most recyclers have hard drive wiping policies, but it is always in your best interest to protect your personal information by erasing or destroying your hard drive."
Finally, some e-waste recyclers are not set up to take small loads of computer and electronic equipment -- many deal strictly with commercial accounts. When in doubt, it will save you time if you contact the recycling facility to make sure they can receive your equipment. Three good resource sites for this are EWasteDropoff.com, NoEWaste.com, and Unwaste.com.
Father's Day is just around the corner, which means that you
or he might be inclined to purchase a huge flat-screen television to watch
movies or sports... but hopefully not SPOTS!
Some friends of mine recently purchased a plasma TV, which
is one of a handful of technologies used in those monster TV sets. LCD, DLP
(Digital Light Processing), Rear-projection, and Front-projection are the other
The problem, for them, started about a week after they
purchased the TV. They noticed spots with a purplish blue ring all around. They
just about went nuts, but in this case, it happened to be their fault. See,
they used a blue window cleaner to clean off the screen, which is something you
should never do. Plasma TVs have an
anti-glare coating on the glass and over the counter glass cleaners can strip
The answer is a $20 cleaner called Monster Screen. Radio
Shack sells it and promises it will be safe for all modern television types.
Keeping harsh cleaners off the screen is one way to prevent
spots on your flat screen TV. Raise your hand if you've heard of Burn-in. It's
also called ghosting or image shadowing. What happens is that the phosphorus
chemicals in the television have been stimulated with the same image for too
To prevent the burn, one good rule of thumb is to turn off
the television monitor when you are not using it. Another rule is to (and I
even found this hard to swallow) but limit how long you watch the television
for the first 200 hours (or 8 1/2 days) that you own it. According to PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com,
"when phosphors are fresh, they burn more intensely as they are ignited. This
means that relatively new plasma displays TVs are prone to ghosting."
Another good tip is to adjust the Contrast setting at or
below 50 percent on your new TV, at least for the first week. The reason there
is so much burn out is that the brighter lights force the phosphors to glow
The problems are different for LCD screens, which can suffer
from little black dots -- sometimes called "dead," "hot,"
or "stuck" pixels. It happens when one or a few of those miniscule
dots on your screen decide not to work anymore. Similarly, lower cost front
projector TVs can suffer from a perceived "screen door." Most times,
you barely notice that there is a problem unless they are clustered together.
Apparently, the TV manufacturers know there are problems.
Some have different class systems that rate the purity of the screen. Others
are not as stringent. Some will not allow for a replacement unless there is a
very noticeable ratio of dead pixels to activate a warranty, so check carefully
before you bring it home.
The good news is that the future of flat-panel television looks
bright. Manufactures are always trying to make a better and less expensive
product. On the horizon are two technologies: Organic LED or OLED promises to
use less power because it doesn't require a backlight like regular LED
displays. The technology is planned for TVs, computer screens and smaller
displays, but it is not widely available.
Then there is the surface-conduction electron-emitter
display (or SED) which uses the same techniques as the first televisions built
in the 50s where each pixel has its own cathode ray tube. Unfortunately, he
technology has been held up and still potentially suffers from the same burn
that plasma TVs get.
Still, there is nothing like a relaxing evening plopped in
front of a 50" screen, as long as it's free of spots.